A Familiar Plot
Somehow this bit of biography of the man who recently performed a “75-minute one-act, written by Howard Zinn, [that] engaged the audience by shedding light on the theories of philosopher Karl Marx” at the University of Rhode Island is almost too predictable to notice:
Jones is a high school teacher in New York and is a member of the International Socialist Organization. By traveling around the country, he hopes to expose the man behind the ideas that sparked a revolution.
Wonder what he teaches.
Heh, I read the linked article in which it is said that the idea of the show is to separate Marxism from Stalinism and to point out that many of Marx’s ideas are “more relevant than ever” in today’s “capitalistic” society. Well, in the world of ideals that may be true. In the field of history, Marx’s materialistic theory of historical causation (influenced by Hegel’s theory of dialectical opposition) has helped to gain some valuable insights into historical motivation, even if some have applied it both too simplistically and too broadly.
However, human history has shown that, time and again, when the implementation of a “utopian” socio-political system hinges on the “benevolence” of a few high-minded individuals, it inevitably fails. Of course, according to any good socialist/marxist, the previous attempts were either not followed long enough or the people who made the attempt weren’t up to snuff (ie: Stalin). These socialist “dead-enders” are nearly universal in their presumptious belief that they will do much better (if only given the chance by the hopelessly ignorant masses, of course).
In short, while Zinn et al may sometimes be accurate in pointing out the problems of capitalism (winners, losers, etc.) they also have blinders on when it comes to finding any fault in their own preferred system. Marx may not be the problem, but to try to pass him off as the end-all, be-all is an error that they continue to make. In fact, it’s rather simplistic for a bunch of so-called sophisticated intellectuals.
Even the left thinks that this argument is stale. Here’s Joshua Micah Marshall — not exactly a card carrying member of the VRWC…
“In the old days, one could often find a certain sort of leftist who would insist that socialism or communism had not really failed, because it had never actually been tried.”